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Summer Holidays, #2

Boarding the ship, a day at sea and my first visit to Norway and the village of Eidfjord.

Day 4 – to the boat

We were up at 6am to finish packing and to grab a quick breakfast before heading back to Amsterdam Centraal Station to get the train to Rotterdam. Despite it being early on a Sunday morning, there was a train to Rotterdam every 15 minutes which was impressive.

We arrived in Rotterdam at about 8:30am and headed to the left luggage area to drop off our suitcases. We then made for the tourist information point in the station where the lady suggested getting the bus tour, which is usually a good idea whatever city you are in.

After our tour we were back at the station so we headed back to get our cases before getting on the tour bus again for another half loop back to the cruise ship terminal.

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Summer Holidays, #1

Following on from my Halloween, our summer holiday this year was another cruise, this time around Norway. This time we decided on Holland America Line, out of Amsterdam. This was mainly due to the price but it was a fortunate coincidence that the cruise was on the MS Koningsdam which was only launched in May 2016.

We again booked through the Lisburn Road branch of Oasis Travel. Every time we travel with Oasis we are continually impressed, and I would highly recommend them to anyone.

Looking at flights to Amsterdam, it quickly became apparent that it was considerably cheaper to fly out a few days before hand. Our Norway adventures therefore began with a Thursday afternoon flight to Amsterdam and a few days stay at the Hotel Rokin.

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The end of an era in Finaghy Primary

On 1st September 1976 a newly qualified teacher started their first teaching job in Ballykinler Primary School in Newcastle, Co Down. In early 1977 they were back at home in Belfast when they asked the then Principal of Finaghy Primary, Robert Brown, if there were any jobs at the school. It turned out there was and this teacher started in FPS in September 1977, teaching P5. It was the same school that they had attended as a child so they had come full circle as it were.

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D-Day 72 years on

Picture the scene … its dawn 72 years ago … the date is 6th June 1944 – D-Day. The average age of your friends to your left and right is around 22. You board a landing craft for the journey to France. Not only are you faced with a journey in an uncomfortably warm landing craft for over an hour, once there you are told you have a survival rate of around 50% or 60%. At Utah and Omaha, the first wave of attack had a survival rate of 20% to 30%. And that is if you even make the beach. Once there you will face “Hell on Earth”.

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Don’t Tell The Wife

Last Saturday night I headed to the Courtyard Theatre for the latest production by The Lambeg Players of the Sam Cree play ‘Don’t Tell The Wife’. It was the first time seeing them since their Christmas Production of Jack and the Beanstalk, but five of that cast featured in this show.

The stage all set for 'Don't Tell The Wife'

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One Dock that you don’t need a lawyer for…

On Friday night I headed to The Dock Café as part of a group from my church church.


At the outset, I will hold my hands up and say that despite the fact that The Dock Café has been opened for over four years and the fact that I live just 15 minutes away from it, it was my first time inside.

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Central Bar, Ballycastle

As part of my travels around the North Coast (which you can read about here) we headed to the Central Wine Bar (or just the Central Bar) in Ballycastle for dinner.


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North Coast wanderings

As I mentioned in my last post, my parents are the guardians for a Spanish girl, Maria, who is boarding at Victoria College Belfast this year. She had some family over from Alicante for a few days so we thought we would take the opportunity on Saturday to show them some of what Northern Ireland has to offer.

Our original intention was to head to Portrush/Portstewart but as the North West 200 was on, we decided to head a bit further east to avoid the crowds. They were staying in the Malone Lodge Apartments (which incidentally they said were lovely inside) so we headed from there to Carrickfergus and then Larne before heading up the Causeway Coastal Route

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Grab a meal at Katch 27

We used to have Spanish friends in my street but they went back home at the end of last year. Their niece had come over to Belfast to board at Victoria College to learn English and with her aunt and uncle moving back to Spain, my parents became her guardians.

We have done a few things with her at weekends and over the May Day holiday we decided to go off the beaten track a bit and go around the Ards Peninsula. My dad was sitting on the iPad last week and happened to stumble across a café called Katch 27 in Kircubbin. The restaurant came in at number 4 for restaurants in Co Down according to TripAdvisor so we thought it would be good to try it.

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A week in Krakow

It’s difficult to write again following my last attempt at summing up following the death of my Community Rescue Service friend and colleague Adrian, our gentle giant.

However, as my friend Sarah said to me, “A writers response to emotion is to write, so you keep her lit”… So without further ado, let me crack on talking about Kraków (that’s an awful attempt at a joke and I apologise now for it).

Krakow Easter 16 615My attempt at being artistic

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